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October 13, 1979 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-10-13

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Page 4-Saturday, October 13; 1979-The Michigan Daily


No such thing as a moderate:

3dan ~aiI
Ninety Years of Editorial Freedom
Vol. LXXXX, No. 33 News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan


hushed voice of


Palestinians in the U.S.

The Florida caucuses:
Much ado about nothing

THE FOUNDING fathers, when they
were drafting a constitution for
the newly-independent nations in
Philadelphia in 1783, never envisioned
that their carefully-devised system of
allowing the nation's elite to elect the
president would, by 1979, degenerate
into a system where delegates to a
Florida state convention can make or
break candidates a year before the ac-
tual presidential election.
.With the rise of the importance of the
media in American politics, projecting
the image of a "winner" early on has
become tantamount to election, and
indeed much more relevant than the
insignificent details of a candidate's
ipsue positions and accountability.
Thus we have the draft-Kennedy forces
and the re-elect Carter forces spending
millions of dollars and hours of time in
Florida in preparation for today's
Democratic party caucus meetings.
Not that those meetings mean
anything to the selection of delegates
to the 1980 Democratic National Con-
vention in New York. Rather,, today's
caucuses will be selecting delegates to
the November 17 Florida state conven-
tion, and that convention a month
away is - scheduled to take a
meaningless straw vote of those in at-
tendance on whether they prefer Ken-
nedy or Carter in 1980.
The trivality of the candidates forays
into Florida becomes all the more
evident considering that neither Carter
nor Kennedy considers the Florida
straw vote important at all-at least
not publically. Senator Kennedy has a
built-in advantage, since the Kennedy
organizations in Florida are
theoretically independent, not af-
filiated with Kennedy, not taking clues
from the candidate. That logic,
however, is something like saying the
f C Tb

CIO is not affiliated with the AFL, or
that Fidel Castro doesn't take cues
from the Soviet Politburo. But for
Kennedy at least, he has the best of
both worlds-if he loses in Florida, he
can say it doesn't matter at all since its
only a straw vote and he doesn't even
have an organization there. If he wins,
however, rest assured the senator will
be calling it a momentous victory.
The president, meanwhile, has in-
dicated through his press secretary
that he, like Kennedy, thinks the
Florida caucus is the meaningless, in-
significant gathering of unimportant,
insignificant apeople that it really is.
However, Carter has been directly
challenged in Florida by the "unaf-
filiated" Kennedy operatives there, so
he must either respond to the challenge
and drain valuables funds from future
battles, or he can acknowledge Florida
as unimportant, and take the risk of an
In all, the great Carter/Kennedy bat-
-tle for Florida rates as one of the
greatest non-events since the 1976 vice-
presidential candidates debate. Not
only will nothing be resolved, but the
entire costly affair will serve only as
ego gratification for the candidates.
themselves, and perhaps for the han-
dful of political pundits who will find
some kind of self-serving importance
in being the first to declare either can-
didate as a lost cause four months
before the first real primary election
for delegates to the national conven-
For the voter, the entire farcical
spector of candidates spending
millions on a beauty contest in Florida
in November 1979 must only add to the
loss of credibility in American political
institutions, and the general sense of
apathy that has pervaded American
elections in the last few decades.

ago, a group of prominent
Palestinians met in a solemn
conclave at a secret location in
San Francisco. The Camp David
accords between Egypt and
Israel had just been signed and
these militant supporters of the
Palestinian Liberation
Organization (PLO) were plan-
ning a strategy to demonstrate to
the U.S. their unanimous rejec-
tion of the treaty.
With great solemnity, they con-
sidered what was fbr them a
dring suggestion:
THEY WOULD send a jointly
signed telegram to President
Carter announcing their op-
The telegram was never gent.
After hours of debate over' the
risks and benefits of such. an
outlandish action, it was decided
it was too dangerous for
Palestinians living in the country
that is Israel's closestaally.
These same Palestinian
leaders, who represent some
8,000 Palestinians living in San
Francisco (the second largest
enclave in the U.S., next to
Detroit), are nonetheless openly
committed to Yasser Arafat, and
to the PLO as their legitimate
politics toward Israel and the ut-
ter timidity . of their actual
political action here in the United
States is one of the more in-
triguing characteristics of the
large and growing community of
Palestinians in America.
But no one should be deceived
into thinking that Palestinian
rhetoric about Israel is only skin-
deep, or that it does not represent
the vast majority of ordinary
Palestinians in this country. Af-
ter interviews with scores of
Palestinians in the tightly-knit
San Francisco community, this
reporter failed to find a single
Palestinian who did not support
Arafat as the true representative
of the Palestinian people, and
who did not demonstrate that
support with generous cash con-
The degree of commitment to
Arafat found among Palestinians
here must call into question one
of the principal assumptions un-
derlying U.S. policy toward the
Israeli-Palestinian dispute: the
existence of "moderate"
IF ONLY THESE moderates
would come forth, say Israeli and
U.S. policy makers, we could
reason with them and arrive at a
just solution, for they are the true
representatives of the
Palestinian people.
But the reason they do not
come forth, says virtually every
Palestinian here, is that they do
not exist; they are either a
figment of Israel's imagination
or a myth constructed to influen-
ce Western opinion.
Wafa Darwazeh, a Palestinian
who produces an Arabic
language radio show in San
Francisco, explains matter-of-
factly, 'The PLO represents all
Palestinians from all walks of
life. It is just like a government-
"THERE ARE 105 countries in
the world that have recognized

the PLO as the only legal
legitimate representative of the
Palestinians. If all those Islamic,
African, and Third World coun-
tries, plus some European coun-
tries, have recognized that the
PLO represents us, -who is trying
to change the facts?~The PLO is
our legitimate representative,
whethr America wants it or not,
whether Israel wants it or not."
A congress of major
Palestinian - American organiza-
tions declared its "unconditional
support" for the PLO in New.
York in December 1978. William
Gedeon, a Palestinian lawyer

By Wanda J. MacClarin

the feelings of others in his com-
munity when he says, "The
guerrillas might be terrorist to
Begin, but to us they are freedom
fighters." Such is the common at,
titude expressed by Palestinians
Even those who don't support
attacks on civilians believe
Americans are biased in their
condemnation of such attacks.
Ibrahim Tawasha, the owner of
an import-export firm, says, "I
have always abhorred and con-
demned violence, but I want the
same standards applied to the
Israeli government as are ap-

"But the reason they do not
come forth, says virtually every.
Palestinian here, is that they do
not exist; they are either a fig-
ment of Israel's imagination or
a myth constructed to influence
Western opinion. "

who attended the congress,
believes it was an event of major
significance, but he says it was
ignored or downplayed by the
American press.
San Francisco's Palestinians
say they silently supported the
PLO when they lived on the West
Bank, but they were afraid for
themselves and their families to
say so publicly. It is only in the
freer political climate of the
United States that they feel
secure enough to declare their
majority of Palestinians freely
and openly supports Al-Fatah,
the largest political faction
within the PLO. Al-Fatah, a
nationalist and non-communist
group, coordinates attacks on
Israeli targets, but it has con-
demned generalized acts of
terror, especially those directed
at targets outside Israel. Since
Al-Fatah is the majority party
within the PLO, its leader Yasser
Arafat is also the chairman of the.
PLO as a whole.
The' small minority of
Palestinian Marxists in San
Francisco who belong to the
PLO's fringe groups are
primarily the young and the well-
educated. They are often studen-
ts who appear to be campus
revolutionaries only, despite
their verbal militance.
In their determination to win
back all of Palestine, San Fran-
cisco's Palestinians are almost
unanimous in their approval of
guerrilla attacks on Israeli
military targets. One former
guerrilla now in San Francisco
says he attacked an oil refinery,
Israeli army pesonnel and
vehicles on his raids into Israel,
but the attacks were never repor-
ted in the press.

plied to Palestinian terrorists."
When Palestinians kill women
and children, says Tawasha, they
are called terrorists, but when
the Israelis bomb refugee cam-
pus, killing women and children
there, they are said to be bom-
bing "terrorist strongholds."
MANY OF THE Palestinians
here have no difficulty
rationalizing guerrilla attacks
on Israeli civilians, or even
foreign tourists in Israel. "If the
Israelis can't walk the streets
without fear, then it's worth
it-not to give them the ability to
live and enjoy living while we.
can't," said a man who claimed
to be a former "fedayeen," or
freedom fighter.,
They also argue that there are
no civilians in Israel, because a
high percentage of the Isreali
population can be mobilied for
Such attitudes spring from a
deep emotionalism toward
Palestine that few Americans
could understand. Many of the
emigres here were living in their
own Arab villages on the West
Bank until only a short time ago.
The older Palestinians vividly
remember that in Palestine only
31 years ago the Arab population
was almost twice as large asthe
Jewish population. They have an
intense desire to reclaim the land
they fled, or were expelled from,
in 1948.
Said one prominent Palestinian
who left his hometown of Nablus
in 1954, "There is a Palestinian
saying: "It is better to have a hut
in Palestine than a palace in a
foreign land.' I have been here 25
years. Get me a piece of land to
call my own, to carry, a passport
of it, and I'll be goddamned if I
don't leave here within seven
days. Not for hatred of the United

States. But I want something to
call my own. w
YET DESPITE the nostalgic*
passion and the political militan-
cy, the Palestinians in the United
States have developed almost no
ability to organize a pressure or
lobby group.
Collecting money for the PLO
is almost the only organized:
political action they engage in:
hee: Community leaders say:
$100,000 a year is collected in San
Francisco alone for the PLO.
Many think it is illegal to con-
tribute to the PLO, and are con-
sequently reluctant to admit they
contribute. Others are proud of
the size of their donations-one
man says he gives $1,500 a year,
anothr says he gives $4,000 a
year. (It js legal to donate,-
collect, and send the money, just
as it is legal to buy Israeli bonds:
or- contribute to the Irish
Republican Army)
Because of the widspread
belief that it is illegal, all of th
money is collected in cash:
Special fund-raising events o
parties are held, or a group i$
delegated to visit Palestinians at
their businesses and ask for con
tributions. There is tremendous
community pressure to give,
Almost everyone who is asked
willl buy a ticket to a party, evert
if he does not plan to attend.
The cash is exchanged several
times a year for a cashier's
check, which is hand-carried to
BeiruĀ± or Damascus by different
people who are traveling there on
other business. No accounting at
all is made to the community of
where or when or how the money
is sent.
"It is all based on trust. If you
do not trust your own people, you
do not trust yourself," says one
community leader, Tawfiq
The Palestinians have limited
their organized political activity
to fundraising for many reasons.
They regard with astonishment
and appreciation the degree of
political freedom that exists in
the United States, but they do not
know how to use the American
political system. The Arab men-
tality, says William Gedeon, a
Palestinian lawyer, is: "If our
cause is just, why should we have
to advertise it? God knows we're
right. We are the refugees. We
are the ones who were kicked
This, for the most part, they
confine their political expression
to clubs where they can fume to
each 6ther, but make almost no
effort to influence American
public opinion.
Wanda MacClarin, a San
Francisco freelance journalist,
spent six months interviewing
members of the city's Palestin-
ian community in preparation
for a Master's Thesis at the
University of California's
School of Journalism. She
wrote this piece for the Pacific-
News Service.

Letters to


% 0 jr


'Yes, you might say they're heading for Disney World.'

To the Daily:
I have just returned from a
five-hour frozen vigil to buy
tickets for the Grateful Dead
concert at Chrysler (sic) Arena.
Once again my wait was in vain
as the Office of Major Events in-
stigated its "screw you" policy of
allowing people to buy an
unlimited number of tickets off
the floor section. As a result,
people who stood in line for hours
were forced to stand by as
newcomers went to the front of
the line to give others money to
buy their tickets, and scalpers
walked off with the primo seats.
This is by no means the first
time this has happened. It is a
consistent practice of an
organization that has no qualms
about screwing the consumer if it
results in a reduction of their
distribution costs. The University

UP about his little tiff with Bo.
To mention it once-maybe
even twice-is understandable.
But further talk about this minor
shoving incident is not worth
Daily readers' time.
By drawing undue attention to
himself as the "underdog" in this
petty affair, Perrin appears to be
enjoying a fair amount of ego
Fortunately, there's a differen-
ce between getting attention and
being recognized as a respon-
sible, interesting sports writer.
-Linda Tanzini
To the Daily:
Last Saturday Mediatrics
films played the thriller Sleuth in
Nat. Sci. Auditorium. In addition
to that, the audience got more
than what it thought it was
paying for. Mediatrics threw in a

for an eternity. The audience had
not shown up to see an X film, and
under no circumstances should it
have been shown. Those who wish
to see sexually explicit footage,
will pay to do so, no objection
there, but those who don't want to
shouldn't have to.
I will also add that I was fur-
ther angered by Mediatrics
choice of film at all. The "sneak
preview" they showed included
part of a rape scene. Violence
against women should not be por-
trayed as entertainment, serving
only to continue that violence.
Pornography is not the same as
sexually explicit material.
-Ellen L. Prokopow
To the Daily:
Few weapons programs have

class to spend tens of billions of
dollars to build means of destruc-
tion while ignoring this country's
pressing social needs.
Socialist Labor Party alorng
with millions of working people
deplore this action. This is not
just a case of misplaced priorities
by a few. misguided politicians.
Quite the contrary. The project is
clearly dictated by the profit in-
terests that are part and parcel of
capitalism. Among the
beneficiaries of this military
boondoggle will be some of the
leading lights of monopoly
capital. Martin Marietta Coro.,
Boeing, Avco, General Tire and
Rubber, Northrop Corp., General
Electlric and Rockwell Inter-
national, all in hot pursuit of the
"obscene" profits that will ensue
from the construction of these

ol be Michigan Bttilg

Sue Warner ............................ EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Richard Berke, Julie Rovuer..........MANAGING EIDITORS
Michael Arkush, Keith Richburg .....EDITORIAL -DIRECTORS
Brian Blanchard ........................ UNIVERSITY EDITOR
Judy Rakowsky .................................. CITY EDITOR
Shelley Wolson ....................... PERSONNEL DIRECTOR
Amy Saltzman ............................ FEATURES EDITOR
Leonard Bernstein ........................ SPECIAL PROJECTS

GEOFF LARCOM.........................Sports Editor
BILLY SAHN...................... Executive Sports Editor
BILLY NEFF ..........................Managing Sports Editor
DAN PERRIN ........................ Managing Sports Editor
MAUREEN O'MALLEY .................. Chief Photographer
JIM KRUZ ................................. Staff Photographer

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